Four Most Famous Buddhist Monasteries You Should Visit in India
New Delhi: With the serene and solid mountains as the backdrop, the Monasteries in India are the perfect places to pay a visit to, no matter what your religion is. The colorful festoons, the sounds of chanting and the bells tinkling, the smell of fresh mountain air with a hint of pine, the taste of snow and the feel of a mixture of cold and warmth – all your senses are attuned to the present and your location. With no distractions, the mind instantly feels at ease and you can feel your body calming down.
Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh
Tawang Monastery in Arunachal Pradesh is the largest monastery in India and the second largest in the world. Perched atop a 10,000 ft mountain, this spot was chosen by the Lama’s horse. Legend has it that the 5th Lama wanted to build a monastery but failed to find a suitable place so he prayed in a cave and after coming out he couldn’t find his horse. While looking, he finally found his steed at this spot. The name Tawang means “horse chosen”. While the ideal time to visit is between June to October, the January Torgya Festival (a cultural dance festival with masked dancers) is something you must capture in your mind’s eye.
Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim
Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim, is one of the largest and most visited monasteries in Sikkim. Though there are over 150 monasteries in Sikkim, Rumtek is the one that attracts the most tourists as it is known to be one of the most colorful and grandest Monasteries in India. The ideal time to pay a visit to this monastery is during May to June when the Tibetan New Year is celebrated with gusto.
Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh
Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh, will make you believe that you are transported into a fairytale with the setting and architecture of the monastery being major draws. This second most important Ladakh monastery is systematically arranged on one side of the hill with the most important building being on the top. This whitewashed grandeur is a sight to behold, especially during sunset. The colorful sky at the backdrop with the view of the pristine monastery in front is certainly Instashot worthy! The main attraction is the 49 ft statue of the Maitreya Buddha. The annual festival and fair is held from October to November so clear your schedule accordingly.
Phuktal Monastery, Jammu and Kashmir
Phuktal Monastery, Zanskar, is isolated and perfect for the solitude-seeking trekker. The jaw-dropping and awesome construction of the monastery, starting from the mouth of a cave down the cliff to a gorge, will awe you instantly. The trekking part is you have to cross a suspension bridge over a river to reach the monastery. It is worth the thrill. During monsoon, there is a waterfall down the cave’s mouth and that sight itself is another awe-inspiring phenomenon. The best time to pay a visit hence is during the monsoon season between July and September.